No posts today — instead you get an enormous link dump courtesy of Seham, who usually focuses mostly on Palestine. I will be getting back to Egypt soon though — there's a lot of info to assess and that needs to be broken down into digestible bits. Let me know your questions in the comments.
Land, property, resources theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing/Settlers
Israeli soldiers demolished on Thursday a mosque located in Khirbit Yirza, near the West Bank city of Tubas, and also removed 10 tents used by farmers and shepherds in the area. Local sources reported that several Israeli military jeeps invaded the village and demolished the mosque for the second time in six months. After demolishing the mosque and the tents, soldiers also handed orders for the demolition of three homes and animal sheds. Also, army bulldozers demolished ten tin-houses in Bardala area, near Tubas. This is the second attack of its nature against the village.
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Thursday issued land confiscation orders in a village near the West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Society said.
Israeli bulldozers cleared a tract of Palestinian land in Sheikh Jarrah yesterday, bringing to a head a decades-long conflict between the local landowner and authorities. Landowner Khalil Abu Taa’ has been fighting a lengthy legal battle for the land since 1978 and has seen been issued several orders by the Israeli Magistrates Court prohibiting him from using the one dunum of land in question, traditionally planted with fruit trees. Despite possessing both Turkish and Jordanian deeds to the land, Abu Taa’ has found it impossible to convince authorities of his case. “We have received several orders from the Israeli courts prohibiting my family and I from working the land,” he says. “This culminated in the demolition of a room that had stood on the land since 1940 and 50 olive, cypress, almond and apricot trees. A 9 meter-high wire fence demarcating the land from the Government House was also removed.” The removed fence had been built there in 1995 as part of a Magistrates Court decision to enable the family to use the land. Then in 2008 they were finally prevented from accessing the area when the land was fenced with a new barbed wire barrier. This one dunum is the one remaining part of what was originally 33 dunums belonging to several local Palestinian families, the rest of which has all been confiscated for government building construction. Abu Taa’ has called on the legal institutions to intervene to stop these illegal attacks on his land.
U.S. is the only Security Council member that opposes the resolution; though its wording does not conflict with Washington’s stance on settlements it fears that if the resolution passes it will be an obstacle to renewal of peace talks.
AFP - The Palestinians have refused a compromise offered by Washington to withdraw a UN resolution condemning Jewish settlements, foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said Thursday.
AFP - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that UN Security Council resolutions are "not the right vehicle" for forging ahead towards a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Anyone who thought that the United States has learned anything from the various revolutions upturning the Arab world has another think coming. We didn't.
Violence and Aggression
The Ma'an News Agency reports that two men have been injured by the Israeli Army this morning.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian boy from a village near Hebron, a Ma'an correspondent said Friday. Muhammad Oweiweih said Mahmoud Ahmad Mahmoud Al-Alami, 21, was seized from his home in the Beit Ummar village.
The following consolidates two posts from Joseph Dana's blog on Israel's horrifying practice of targetting children in order to quash protest in the West Bank. As the Middle East Children Alliance points out, "In the first two weeks of February 2011, 32 Palestinian children were arrested by Israeli authorities. This video and report from one village in the West Bank gives the world a glimpse into the real meaning of these numbers."
IOF troops arrested on Friday four Palestinians from the villages of Beit Awwa and Sair near the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil and one Palestinian from Ramallah.
JERICHO (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Thursday detained a Palestinian Authority intelligence officer at the Allenby Bridge border crossing, relatives said. Nassar Husni Al-Ashqar ,45, was detained as he tried to cross the bridge from the West Bank to Jordan. His family said he was transferred to Al-Jalamh interrogation center.
Siege/Humanitarian Issues/Racism and Discrimination
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 10 – 16 February 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that a Palestinian civilian was killed by a gang of Jewish Israeli youth in Jerusalem. 4 Palestinian workers, including a child, were wounded by Israeli forces targeting Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded by Israeli forces who used force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
Israeli forces shut down traffic on main streets in Silwan today in the lead up to and during the weekly public prayer in Al-Bustan protest tent. In what has become a weekly event, a buildup of armed Israeli forces sparked palpable tension in the neighborhood.
A report issued on Thursday (17.02.2011) by the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedom, Mada, has stated that over the course of 2010, there has been a perceptible escalation in the number of violations being carried out against the media across the occupied Palestinian Territories.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Protesters take to the streets of West Bank city of Ramallah, saying time has come for Fatah and Hamas to come together.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinians are coming together to demand an end to the years-long state of political disunity. Independent figures and nine youth organizations are calling on social networking sites to "bring down the division."
One year after Hampshire College in Massachusetts became the first university to divest from the Israeli occupation, student Will Delphia was hard at work completing a short documentary film exploring the events surrounding the historic decision.
Occupied Palestine, 17 February 2011 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations and unions, calls on Adidas to withdraw its sponsorship of the first Jerusalem marathon to take place on March 25, 2011 to avoid becoming complicit in covering up Israel's war crimes and grave human rights abuses. Israel has been consistently, systematically, and quite blatantly working to “Judaize” Jerusalem through policies of ethnic cleansing directed at the indigenous Palestinian population to change the demographic reality of the occupied city, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international human rights law.
Queer organizations around the globe are mobilizing to let filmmakers and other cultural workers know that the Israeli government is trying to "pinkwash" its war crimes by giving money to queer cultural events, including the upcoming San Francisco LGBT Film Festival.
Occupied Palestine, 17 February 2011 – The recent public exposure of a large number of documents related to the U.S.-sponsored "peace process" between Israel and Palestinian officials provides hard evidence, if any was needed, not only of readiness on the part of unrepresentative Palestinian "negotiators" to concede basic Palestinian rights, but also of Israel's rejectionism and unwillingness to negotiate even an unjust and unsustainable peace. The leaked documents also reveal the arm-twisting employed by international "peace brokers" to compel – unelected -- Palestinian officials to serve Israel's expansionist and colonial agenda through the surrender of UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian people. It is now clearer than ever that the so-called negotiations were never based on principles of international law and human rights and never promoted just peace.
"Chilean parliamentary delegation vows to prevent government to sign a free trade treaty with Israel. Ramallah: Cyprus has recognised the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with the Palestinian National Authority highlighting the importance of such a recognition, but the move has angered Israel. Only a day before Cyprus, Paraguay recognised the Palestinian state within 1967 borders along with five other countries from South America namely Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Uruguay. Chile and Peru have also recognised the Palestinian state but without specifying the borders.
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Palestinian students will be allowed to enter Egypt if they are enrolled for the spring semester, officials said Thursday. Palestinians have been banned from entering Egypt since Feb. 7, as authorities struggled to hold onto power before the regime fell. The Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, Barakat Al-Farra, said his embassy intervened to secure entry for students this year.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A top aide to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza said Thursday that the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia would free the Palestinian cause out of the grip of America and Israel. Yousef Rezqa told a group of journalists that both Palestinian governments should respect the youth movements planning demonstrations across the occupied territories "because they represent the spirit of the nation."
Reuters - President Barack Obama spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to discuss the Middle East peace process amid political turmoil in the region, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
Demonstrations are continuing uninterrupted across the Middle East and North Africa, where protesters remain steadfast in their demands for democracy. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority's leadership in Ramallah has announced that it will hold municipal, presidential and legislative elections within the year.
Most of the mines along the border are anti-personnel mines, and they are not being removed.
All test-runs of system prove successful, IAF believes that 13 Iron Dome systems will be required to protect Israeli civilians from short-range missiles.
Israeli embassy in Ankara and Israeli consulate in Istanbul temporarily shut down following threats by Hezbollah of plans to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyah.
As protests rage in Bahrain and Libya, the U.S. government's stance toward democracy in the Arab world is evolving, even in Congress. On Wednesday, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said that the United States must abandon its decades-old habit of supporting totalitarian autocrats.
The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee lashed out at the Obama administration on Thursday over reports the United States offered to support a U.N. Security Council statement critical of Israeli settlements. FP's Turtle Bay first reported on Wednesday evening that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice offered to support this draft statement, which affirms that the Security Council "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity." The United States was apparently trying to head off a vote on a stronger resolution put forth by the Palestinian Authority and supported by Lebanon, a temporary member of the Security Council.
The recent public exposure of a large number of documents related to the U.S.-sponsored “peace process” between Israel and Palestinian officials provides hard evidence, if any was needed, not only of readiness on the part of unrepresentative Palestinian “negotiators” to concede basic Palestinian rights, but also of Israel’s rejectionism and unwillingness to negotiate even an unjust and unsustainable peace. The leaked documents also reveal the arm-twisting employed by international “peace brokers” to compel – unelected — Palestinian officials to serve Israel’s expansionist and colonial agenda through the surrender of UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian people. It is now clearer than ever that the so-called negotiations were never based on principles of international law and human rights and never promoted just peace.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Efforts are ongoing to conclude a prisoner swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, informed Hamas sources told Ma'an on Friday. Sources said a German mediator was still involved in the deal, and that a German official has visited the Gaza Strip more than once to discuss the issue.
The Court ruled in the past that the wishes of the owners should be taken into account in deciding the use of the properties, but rejected petitions to restore them to their owners.
Google translates "Israel will finish" to "Israel will not be defeated" in Arabic, and "Israel will die" to "Israel will not die". Talk about professionalism.
Revolt in the Middle East
The US and president Barack Obama continue to waver in their position regarding the unrest sweeping through the Middle East. The country says it will not dictate events in the region. But Obama has criticised the Iranian government's violent response to protests there, while at the same time maintaining a more neutral tone with Bahrain. Many find the US's response disappointing, and some feel the White House will only react strongly to those governments it does not have a stake in. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports.
AP - Here is a summary of Thursday's developments in the Arab world, as anti-government protests inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia spread in the region.
"Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz, a half brother of the king, says it was not too late for the Saudi government to take steps to avoid protests. He also says the king is the only person who can bring about major changes. He made the comments in an interview with BBC Arabic on Thursday.Talal is an outspoken prince who has called for reform before. He holds no government posts and is considered something of an outsider within the royal family. He was forced briefly into exile in the 1960s amid reports at the time that he planned a revolt..."
(Manama) - Bahraini authorities need to ensure that people wounded by riot police have unfettered access to medical assistance, and that medical personnel can carry out their responsibilities without threat of police interference, Human Rights Watch said today. Bahraini security forces must also immediately cease their unlawful use of lethal force against protesters.
Several thousand Shi'ites turned out in Bahrain today to bury three of those killed in a crackdown ordered by the island state's Sunni ruling family to quell opposition protests inspired by Egypt.
SITRA, Bahrain — Angry Bahraini Shiites began on Friday burying the dead of a violent police raid on anti-regime protesters as the army enforced a tight clamp across the capital of the Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchy.
DIRAZ, Bahrain, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Bahrain's senior Shi'ite cleric said on Friday a police attack on protesters which killed four people was a "massacre" and the government has shut the door to dialogue.
A report from a friend in Tripoli. She must remain nameless. I’m here and safe for now, al-hamdullah. There is no internet in Libya, and maybe there will be no electricity in the coming days. I uploaded software late at night to get the internet, and very few have access to this software.
At a news conference for the Wafaq political party, MP Jasim Husain Ali called for an investigation into the military crack down that resulted in the deaths of several protesters.
Read more about him here: Blood Runs Through the Streets of Bahrain
Dr. Ekri, a distinguished plastic surgeon, had just returned from a trip to Houston. He identified himself as a physician to the riot police, according to other doctors and family members, based partly on what Dr. Ekri, 44, told them before he lost consciousness. But then, they said, the riot police handcuffed him and began beating him with sticks and kicking him while shouting insults against Shiites. Finally, they said, the police pulled down his pants and threatened to rape him, although that idea was abandoned and an ambulance eventually was allowed to rescue him.
Anti-government demonstrators outside the main Manama hospital.
Al Khalifa regime hires non-native Sunni Muslims in concerted effort to swing balance in Shia-majority Bahrain, say analysts
Following deadly pre-dawn raid on Manama's central square, army says it has 'key parts' of city under control. Protesters, banned from gathering, chant 'regime must go'.
Angry mourners gather at a hospital and crowd anger grows in Manama after at least three people are killed and 230 are wounded in a government assault on sleeping protesters. The army warns it will take all steps necessary to maintain stability. Bahrain's military deployed armored vehicles in the streets of Manama Thursday after an early morning attack on sleeping protesters killed at least three people and wounded 230 others.
During an overnight raid in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain, heavily armed riot police surrounded thousands of demonstrators as they slept in a central square in the nation’s capital. Rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades were fired into the crowd without warning. At least four people were killed and hundreds injured. Some 60 people are reported missing. We hear from human right activist Nabeel Rajab outside a hospital in Manama where the wounded are being treated.
Troops and tanks lock down capital of Manama after police smash into demonstrators in pre-dawn assault, killing four.
The data suggests that as protests have erupted, Bahrain has severely restricted the Internet access of its citizens.
Military locks down capital Manama after police assault on peaceful demonstrators leaves four dead.
He said the violence was "regrettable" but necessary because the demonstrators were "polarizing the country" and pushing it to the "brink of the sectarian abyss," according to the Associated Press.
American naval presence in the Gulf is headquartered in the capital, Manama, where deadly clashes are taking place
In Bahrain, anti-government protests have entered their fourth day. Bahrain is the home of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, making it a key strategic ally for the United States.
Members of parliament from the Shiite Wifaq Party, which had 18 of 40 seats in the lower house of the Bahrain legislature, have resigned en masse from their positions. They were objecting thereby to the deaths so far of 5 protesters and the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators early on Thursday morning by government security forces.
Thousands of mourners called for the downfall of Bahrain's ruling monarchy as burials began Friday after a deadly assault on pro-reform protesters that has brought army tanks into the streets of one of the most strategic Western allies in the Gulf.
Not everyone wants democracy, or sympathizes with the popular protests crashing across the Middle East.
Weak & Shameful Condemnations
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged Bahrain to show restraint and to fulfill its pledge to "hold accountable" those who used excessive force against protesters.
Clinton calls Bahrain's FM to express concern over violence; UN secretary-general says those responsible for violent crackdown should be brought to justice; Three dead, 231 wounded, 60 missing in Bahrain.
"Embassy staff in the Bahraini capital of Manama were also asked whether the princes had any friends among the country's Shia Muslim majority, which is behind this week's protests against the minority rule of the Sunni regime. Prince Nasir, 23, who is serving in the Bahrain Defence Force, and Prince Khalid, 21, are King Hamad's sons by his second wife and there have been fears in the region that hardliners from neighbouring countries might try to influence them."
After an Iranian official spoke of supposed Iranian claims to Bahrain, Egypt's President visited Manama in a demonstration of Arab solidarity..... The gaffe attributed to Nateq-Nuri provided Bahrain and other moderate Arab governments with an opportunity to put the Iranians on the PR defensive, and to shame Qatar for bringing Iran into Arab counsels. Inside Bahrain, the GOB is also using this episode to amplify its ongoing campaign (reftel) against allegedly disloyal radicals among Bahrain's Shia. (C) In private, Bahrain's leaders do not seem very concerned about the prospect of annexation to Iran. For example, during a meeting February 17 with Codel Pingree, Crown Prince Salman ticked off a long list of Iranian offenses against regional stability (including support for Hizballah and Hamas, nuclear ambitions, and "conspiring" with Qatar to split the Arabs) but made only a brief, dismissive mention of Nateq-Nuri's February 10 eruption.."
What’s ahead for this country?
-Well, let’s review the demands of those protesting
-Bilateral Constitutional amendments which are binding to address the contentious current Constitution of 2002
-The immediate release of political prisoners, some 450 are incarcerated many of whom are children under 18 years of age
-Release and increase press freedoms, repeal Law 47/2002
-Guard and increase personal freedoms and freedoms of expression
-Investigate corruption and return stolen wealth into the state coffers
-Repeal Law 56/2002 and bring torturers to justice
Are any of these demands unreasonable? Do they differ from the aspirations of any human being?
Four funerals are to take place today in various places in Bahrain for the four new martyrs of yesterdays brutal attack on the Pearl Roundabout. Essa Abdulhassan, the 61 year old gentlemen who went to reason with the riot police and got half his head blown off for his efforts is being laid to rest as I type this. Thousands are in Karzakkan to pay their respects. There will be thousands more at the other four funerals, three of which are going to be in the island of Sitra. I don’t know the schedule yet, but I hope that the police and military forces will restrict themselves and allow people to mourn peacefully. No one wants a repeat of yesterday, especially what happened in Salmaniya…
The historic, Great 2011 Arab revolt is relentless - those initial jasmine winds from the Maghreb turning into sandstorms east and west and now blanketing all latitudes across Northern Africa and the Middle East all the way to Southwest Asia, in Iran. This Thursday, the key focus is Libya - check out this cracking rap, where "send the devil back to hell" is directed at the eternal Gaddafi. Sunday the focus is Morocco - check out this video of what young - and old - Moroccans want for their lives.
The strategic interests of the US, Britain and France and the values they uphold appeared in stark contrast.
"The secret police – the Bahrain national security agency, known in Arabic as the Mukhabarat – has undergone a process of "Bahrainisation" in recent years after being dominated by the British until long after independence in 1971. Ian Henderson, who retired as its director in 1998, is still remembered as the "Butcher of Bahrain" because of his alleged use of torture. A Jordanian official is currently described as the organisation's "master torturer".
The meeting of the GCC today to support Bahraini repression and oppression was clear. The GCC (a tool created by the US) intended to prevent democracy from arriving to an Arab gulf country. I do believe that the Qatari government deliberately protected the Bahraini monarchy through its lousy coverage of the repression in Bahrain. I just remembered the last conversation I had with the Emir of Qatar back in July: I asked him for the reasons why political parties can't be formed in Qatar, and why societies dedicated to combating normalization between Qatar and Israel are not permitted in Qatar. I remember his words today (and now I know what he meant): he said that he can't. That political development and progress in Qatar can't be ahead of other political levels of developments in other Gulf countries. I asked why: and he said that they just can't be ahead, in political development. I guess that GCC countries disagree on many things but that they all agree on preventing democracy in their region. But: make no mistake about it. There is so much at stake--physically in terms of military and intelligence bases--to to allow for democracy in that part of the world. I think that the US was prepared to deploy troops to support the Bahraini monarchy.
GCC met and issues a statement in support of Bahrain. The people of Bahrain are on their own now: there is no Aljazeera to support their cause and expose the regime, and the US and EU will do their best to rationalize and support government repression. Shame on Aljazeera Arabic for abandoning the people of Bahrain, and for even invoking a sectarian element in their coverage, implying that only Shi`ites are protesting. In the press conference with the royal Bahraini foreign minister (a major buffoon of the Middle East--and we have many) minutes ago, seated next to `Abdullah bin Zayid (who has taken it upon himself to stand firmly by every falling or tottering tyrant in the region), a most courageous Bahraini female journalist (anyone knows her name) stood up and she spoke to him in a way that I have NOT seen or heard an Arab journalist speak to a ruler before. She should be a front page story.
I am seething. The coverage of Aljazeera Arabic has become too blatantly politically biased for my taste. They protect their allies and friends and go intensely after the rivals and enemies of Qatar (like the regime of Husni Mubarak). I notice that when they gave very scant coverage of Iranian protests, they never if ever talk to opponents of the regime. Only government propagandists are allowed to speak. The GCC decided to stand by Bahrain monarchy, and Aljazeera quickly reflected that. It is not the story anymore. Aljazeera is extensively covering Libya and Yemen now: not close allies of Qatar. If Mubarak was a member of the GCC, he would have been protected by Aljazeera. Having said all that: you can't compare Aljazeera to the lousy, crude, offensive propaganda outlet of the House of Saud: otherwise known as Al-Arabiyyah TV.
Typically, Al-Arabiyyah TV (news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) takes the side of the tyrant. They are standing firmly behind the King of Bahrain. Their lousy correspondent in Bahrain "reports" that massive demonstrations will take place tomorrow in support of the King and he "reports" that no demonstrations will take place against the king. Such are standards of news reportage in House of Saud's media.
I have long mocked that buffoon. My students who are representing Bahrain at Model United Nations are having fun making fun of his tweets on a daily basis. Today in his rambling press conference, he said that the only reason why people were demonstrating in different parts of the country is due to a "sectarian line" combining protests. So were the simultaneous protests in Egypt also due to a "sectarian line"--his phrase for sectarian mobilization according to the sectarian plot of Saudi Arabia.
The international community last night called on Bahrain to show restraint after a bloody police raid yesterday to remove protesters camped out in the capital Manama left four people dead and hundreds wounded.
Bahrain's Progressive Democratic Forum issues the following statement as the Bahrain's rulers deploy riot police and mercenaries to attack peaceful protesters camped in Pearl Square.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday expressed "deep concerns" about the deadly attack on hundreds of sleeping anti-government protestors carried out by Bahrain’s security forces at a central square in the capital, Manama, Wednesday night.
Of the new revolutionary eruptions, post-Egypt, perhaps the most problematic for Washington is the upsurge in Bahrain, where a Sunni king has long ruled over his predominantly Shi’ite subjects. King Hamad is a corrupt tyrant whose disregard for basic human rights was underscored by the actions of his security forces in storming a protest encampment in the capital city’s main square, murdering 5 protesters in a surprise assault in the dead of night, and wounding over 200. There are indications that at least some of the assailants were Saudis. Bahrain, a small island kingdom in the Persian Gulf, is connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway.
Bahrain is home to the U.S. 5th Fleet, and its government's fall could scramble the strategic order in the Middle East, potentially weakening U.S. leverage and leaving Iran in a stronger position. A burst of deadly violence against demonstrators in Bahrain has left the Obama administration again confronting the awkward task of trying to stabilize an ally besieged by growing opposition from its citizens.
Dialogue has no place in Bahrain at the moment. And all space is left to the violence of a government that doesn’t seem to care about its citizens. Dialogue is replaced with shotguns, tear gas and hundreds of riot police all exerting an inordinate amount of violence against unarmed civilians.
GENEVA, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Anti-government protesters have seized control of the eastern Libyan city of al Bayda after they were joined by some local police, two separate Libyan exile groups said on Friday.
At least 24 people have died in anti-government protests in Libya over recent days, rights activists say.
Witnesses in the Libyan city of Benghazi say that hundreds of people, at least, have gathered for an anti-government protest.
Deadly attacks on peaceful protests - that is what eyewitnesses are reporting from all over Libya. The country's "day of rage" has left at least 24 people dead, according to Human Rights Watch. Despite media restrictions in Libya - reports of protests and violence have emerged on the internet. Many amateur videos have also been uploaded, which cannot be independently verified. Al Jazeera's Caroline Malone reports.
Groups allied with opponents of leader Muammar Gadhafi claim al Bayda was wrested from government control, though reports have not been independently verified as communication with the city has been cut.
(New York) - The Libyan security forces killed at least 24 protesters and wounded many others in a crackdown on peaceful demonstrations across the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should cease the use of lethal force unless absolutely necessary to protect lives and open an independent investigation into the lethal shootings, Human Rights Watch said.
Despite state-organised rallies in support of Muammar Gaddaffi, thousands of pro-democracy protesters defy a security crackdown to demand an end to his 42-year rule. Videos posted online claim to show demonstrators setting fire to the police headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi. Al Jazeera speaks to an eyewitness who describes seeing protesters shot dead by Gaddaffi loyalists.
Video of attacks
Amnesty International has urged the Libyan authorities to cease using excessive force to suppress anti-government protests after at least another person was shot and killed by police. Amnesty International has urged the Libyan authorities to cease using excessive force to suppress anti-government protests after at least another person was shot and killed today by police.
The Human Rights Solidarity based in Geneva, Switzerland, quoted witnesses in Libya saying as many as 13 protesters had been killed by rooftop snipers and scores injured in clashes with security forces on Thursday.
NICOSIA (AFP) – Six people were killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday, as Moamer Kadhafi's regime sought to overshadow an opposition "Day of Anger" with its own rally in the capital Tripoli. Meanwhile, clashes broke out in the city of Zentan, southwest of the capital, in which a number of government buildings were torched. Violent clashes in the Mediterranean coastal city of Benghazi have so far left six dead on Thursday, the Al-Youm and Al-Manara sites reported on what was the third straight day of protests against the long-time Libyan leader.
Ambassador denies students' claims embassy threatened to cut scholarships if they missed pro-Gaddafi rallies.
(New York) - Libyan Internal Security forces have arrested at least 14 people as protests began in connection with peaceful demonstrations planned for February 17, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today.
After Tunisia and Egypt, we Libyans once more have the courage to demand our rights – and voice our dreams. Two months ago, the mere thought of freedom was out of the question in Libya. But today, the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have sowed the hope of freedom in the hearts of each and every one of us.
My gut feeling is that the most important protests now taking place in North Africa are those in Libya. I say this with no disrespect to those in Algeria, where the regime certainly deserves to be brought down, or my own native Morocco, where the palace and Makhzen need a wake-up call that the status quo (and indeed, the regression of the last few years) is not acceptable.
It was only matter of time when the revolution tides reach to Libya , it was only matter of time as we are all expecting that the middle country between Tunisia and Egypt will recover soon enough from the virus that has been ruling it for 40 years.
"In a speech broadcast on Wednesday evening, Colonel Gaddafi made no mention of the unrest but said the "revolutionaries" would prevail. "Down with the enemies, down with them everywhere; down with the puppets everywhere, the puppets are falling, the autumn leaves are falling!" Mr Gaddafi said. "The puppets of the USA, the puppets of Zionism are falling."
Following events in Tunisia and Egypt, dissent is spreading across the Arab world and now it is the turn of Libya. Thursday was billed as a day of rage as protesters gathered to demand the ousting of Africa's longest-serving leader, Muammar Gaddafi. On this episode of Inside Story, we ask if the Libyan protests will achieve the same end as those elsewhere.
SANAA, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Eight anti-government protesters in the Yemeni city of Taiz were wounded on Friday when an assailant threw a hand grenade at them, opposition sources and witnesses said.
Yemeni security forces and pro-government loyalists clashed with crowds demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule in several cities on Friday.
On Tuesday, Northern Shia rebel commander Abdulmalik al-Houthi issued a statement, promising to order his armed forces to support the pro-democracy protesters, if “revolution breaks out.”
Amnesty International calls on Yemen to stop its security forces using excessive force after protesters and journalists were today reportedly attacked at peaceful demonstrations around the country.
Rival protesters clashed in Yemen's capital today, with police firing live ammunition into the air.
Yemen's religious leaders have called for the formation of a unity government, after an eighth day of protests there once again turned violent. Clashes have been taking place in several cities across the country. Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra reports from the capital, Sanaa.
Rival protesters clash in the streets in the seventh day of protests between supporters and foes of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Opposition leaders have stopped short of calling for his ouster, but that could change. Thousands of rival demonstrators protesting for and against Yemen's president clashed in the capital of Sana on Thursday in a sprawl of burning tires, hurled chunks of concrete and fistfights that marked the seventh straight day of unrest across the nation.
(New York) - Iraqi authorities should open an independent and transparent investigation into the reported shooting of several protesters in demonstrations on February 16 and 17, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi security forces should respect the right of free assembly and use only the minimum necessary force when violence occurs at protests, Human Rights Watch said.
Protests in the Iraqi city of Kut are ongoing in denunciation to lack of services. People are calling for social and economic reforms. Denunciations were voiced against the government and the governor who left the city on Thursday.
AP - Iraqis demanding better public services, jobs and pensions blocked a bridge Friday in the southern oil hub of Basra, as spreading Middle East unrest emboldens Iraqis to take on government officials over poor living standards.
Reuters - Two people were killed and 47 wounded during a protest in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya Thursday, sources said, as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for demonstrations to be kept peaceful.
SULAIMANIYA – At least one person died and dozens were injured Thursday in Iraqi Kurdistan’s second largest city as angry protestors attacked the local headquarters of one of the two ruling Kurdish parties, while an opposition building was set ablaze in the other major Kurdish city.
Protests took place throughout the country again, while a major bombing took place in Muqdadiya. At least 28 Iraqis were killed in the new violence and protests. Another 91 Iraqis and 10 Iranians were wounded.
Iraq’s absence from the “Egypt Today, Tomorrow the World” map, published a week after the massive demonstration in Egypt on January 25th and which included the dates of planned demonstrations in different Arab capitals, was striking. The absence was not limited to the dates listed. Iraq as a country was not included. It is as if the absence of protests indicated the absence of the country itself. As if Iraq was not affected by the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt. This conspicuous absence is due to the nature of the present political regime in Iraq, which adopted and institutionalized a sectarian discourse after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Iraq is reminiscent of Lebanon: the sectarian quota system has paralyzed political life. How is it possible to create a united popular initiative when markers like Kurd, Shia, Sunni, and Christian are in circulation and when the word Iraqi does not count?
"As with the occupation itself, the task of building and running the American University of Iraq-Sulaimaniya was given to Bush/Cheney administration loyalists. Generally, they were neoconservative ideologues with a fundamentalist Christian outlook, who brashly dismissed prior experience and scholarship so far as it concerned the culture and conditions on the ground. The failure to do even the most basic homework was quickly apparent. Right after its opening, the university was caught up in a sex scandal. Officials discovered that they had improperly vetted Owen Cargol, the man chosen to be AUI-S's first chancellor. Somehow, they had missed news reports that Cargol had resigned his previous post as president of Northern Arizona University only four months into his tenure after being accused of sexual harassment. [continues]
Other Mideast Protests
Jordanian protesters fight with government supporters in Amman, where crowds had gathered after Friday prayers to demand political reform.
Crowds are gathering in Cairo's Tahrir Square to celebrate the end of Hosni Mubarak's thirty year rule It has been a week since Mubarak was forced out of office by an unprecedented wave of protests. Several hundred military police in red berets are keeping watch over the square. Meanwhile Egyptian authorities have arrested three former government ministers and a businessman suspected of corruption. Al Jazeera has this live report from the Egyptian capital.
Tens of thousands have gathered for a victory march through Cairo’s Tahrir Square today to celebrate the overthrow of longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Democracy Now! Senior Producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports from Cairo.
An Egyptian prosecutor on Thursday ordered the detention of three ex-ministers and a prominent businessman pending trial on suspicion of wasting public funds. The prosecutor dealing with financial crimes said former Interior Minister Habib el-Adli, former Tourism Minister Zuhair Garana, former Housing Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz must be held for 15 days.
The moment Ahmed Ezz tastes the meaning of jail for what he has done in the country !! Ahmed Ezz, Ahmed El-Maghrabi and Zohair Garana were to be detained for 15 days at Tora prison by the orders of the general prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmoud. Ezz came with a handbag by the way as you can see, he is so picky. According to what was leaked the amazing trio are staying with none other than businessman Khairat Al Shater of Muslim brotherhood and Hisham Talaat Mustafa. I want to see Hisham’s reaction when he sees his nemesis Ahmed Ezz in front of him in jail !!
Egyptian Foreign Ministry confirms Iranian request, Defense Ministry to process the application; Iran state TV says warships will pass through Suez Canal.
CAIRO — Iran was pushing Egypt on Thursday to allow two of its warships to pass through the Suez Canal, amid conflicting reports from Cairo about the Egyptian response and despite warnings from Israel. Iranian warships have not entered the Mediterranean through the canal since 1979, and Israel says any attempt to sail so close to its waters now would be a dangerous "provocation" that would demand a response.
Army took control of the country following Mubarak's resignation last week, has apparently signaled intent to share power with civilians.
The Supreme Council of the Egyptian armed forces has decided to raise the pays of civil servants, military personnel and pensioners by 15 percent.
Former government officials, economists and business groups say the military is protecting its economic privileges and discouraging economic reform.
Joining others across Egypt pressing demands for better wages and conditions in protests that have sent the economy reeling, hundreds of workers went on strike Thursday along the Suez Canal.
CAIRO (IPS) - The iron fist that has kept a tight grip on Egypt's labor movements for nearly six decades relaxed this week, unleashing a wave of wildcat strikes that is testing the resolve of the country's new military rulers.
The real story about what's going on in Egypt is being suppressed in the US because it doesn't jibe with the "ain't capitalism great" theme that the media loves to reiterate ad nauseam.
Since the popular uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, thousands of employees across Egypt have walked out on strike. Their demands range from rising wages to removing corrupt officials affiliated with Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat speaks to Khaled Ali, a labor lawyer with the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights.
(S) In response to U/S Levey's query about the best way CAIRO 00000975 003 OF 003 to handle Hezbollah, Aboul Gheit noted that he hoped the UN would issue a statement of sorts about the group, as Egypt would support any way to "dirty the name" of Hezbollah. ..."
Al-Quds al-Arabi says former Egyptian leader felt 'humiliated' by US president's call to resign.
Hosni refused to accept a phone call from US President Barack Obama, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported Thursday. The report says Mubarak feels "humiliated and embittered at Obama's most recent statement about the need for him to resign immediately", so he rejected the call. The report adds that the former president is residing at his palace in Sharm el-Sheikh and maintaining a similar lifestyle, though he has hired additional guards. Israel has also approved the entry of two Egyptian army battalions into the southernmost Sinai city in order to help guard the palace..."
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: In the Sinai resort where Hosni Mubarak once hosted world leaders and now lives in seclusion, Egyptians feel as cut off from the toppled strongman as they did when he was president.
For the first time since he was banned from leading weekly friday prayers in Egypt 30 years ago, prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi will lead thousands in the weekly prayers from Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday.
Do you know that during the last 18 or even 20 days in Egypt there has not been a single guard from the police force protecting the Jewish synagogues in the country !!? Do you know that there has not been a single attack against a single synagogue recorded in the country ? Do you know that the synagogues in Down town were not attacked or harmed from any kind ?
Second, Cohen repeats allegations that the crowd that assaulted Logan shouted "Jew, Jew." I don't know if that's accurate, but if it's true, the blame should go to the pro-Mubarak camp for disseminating the sick view that Logan, as a foreign reporter, was a pro-Israel conspirator. This theme that the Tahrir demonstrations were the work of pro-Israel foreign agents masked as reporters was spread by pro-government sources, and even the official media. When foreign journalists were attacked and beaten, it wasn't by the Tahrir protesters, but by pro-Mubarak thugs. The Logan attack may have been an appalling echo of this outrageous pro-Mubarak campaign against foreign journalists.
CAIRO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Egypt's revolution and upheavals across the region herald a shift in the balance of power between Israel and its neighbours, as Arabs push out autocrats who often put U.S. and European ties before their people's demands.
Egypt paid a huge price, in terms of lives lost, for the revolution. However, a Brigadier with Cairo's police exclusively tells Al Jazeera that many lives could have been saved if police personnel would have undergone correct training for riot control.
Thomas Gorguissian, an Egyptian journalist and writer, currently working for the Egyptian online daily Dustour, speaks to Al Jazeera about today's planned 'victory march' through Tahrir Square, marking the fall of Hosni Mubarak last week.
Seventeen-year-old Egyptian high school student Sanaa Seif is helping to publish a newspaper in defiance of rules requiring government permission. So far, the publication has focused on the voices of Tahrir Square.
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Political activists who took part in the Egyptian 25 January revolution have drawn up a blacklist that includes the names of a number of Egyptian actors, musicians, and media figures, calling on the Egyptian public to boycott their work from on. This is after these Egyptian public figures expressed their support for Mubarak and his regime, and made anti-revolutionary comments, during the period leading up to the Egyptian revolution. This blacklist appeared on the internet, and was sent to a number of media publications.
In 2008, Nashwa Nasreldin went to Cairo to look at the Ramadan experience in Egypt - but also at the reasons behind the protests in 2008.
In 2008, Nashwa Nasreldin went to Cairo to find out how Egypt's youth is feeling. With many young people unable to find work, and in a country with a restrictive political arena, the youths are facing many questions about their future.
In 2005, Hosni Mubarak was sworn in for a fifth term in office. In the run up to Egypt's first ever multi-party election, Mubarak promised sweeping reforms to deliver a better life and more democracy for his people. So in September 2008, Nashwa Nasreldin went to Cairo to find out.where the country politically stands.
In Egypt, the fight for meaningful change is far from over. Is the military leadership playing an honest transitional role? Is it really trying to meet the demands of those who rose up against the old regime, or is it in fact working for only limited changes in the country so it can remain in control?
Western media always welcomes the overthrow of a dictator — great headline news — but this instance was greeted with less than euphoria by Western — especially American — leaders, who tried to soft-peddle it much as did official Egyptian media till the leader fled the palace. Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak was a generously paid ally for the US in its Middle East policy of protecting Israel, and the hesitancy of the Western — especially US — governments in supporting fully what should have been a poster-child of much-touted US ideals was both frustrating and highly instructive.
Simple description of observable reality does nothing more than capture the ‘accidents’ that identify the particularity of something, not convey the greater universal truths, the ideal form, that lies hidden beneath the accidental appearance.
While some debated the role of social media in Egypt's revolution, Twitter's Hope140 Blog tracked down one particular Egyptian tweeter (@alya1989262) to discuss how tech-savvy activists in Africa and the Middle East are contributing to the movements for social change in those regions.
It has been many years since I last attended the State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. And on this sultry February afternoon as I arrived for media accreditation, the usual blustery Cape Doctor – a seasonal trade wind – had backed off from blowing everything away. As the sun dimmed on a striking Cape Town summer evening, ostrich feathers, hats and hairstyles remained in place. And whilst some of the expensive outfits I saw could have paid for a Reconstruction and Development Programme house, I was told it was a subdued fashion year.
Other Mideast News
BEIRUT: The Permanent Military Tribunal handed down a death sentence against a man convicted of collaborating with Israel Thursday. Amin Ibrahim Baba, who was arrested in early 2010, was accused of providing Israeli authorities with information about the residences of Hezbollah officials and political facilities in south Lebanon.
Amman says peaceful nuclear program, backed by US, necessary for producing electricity.
Deposed Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali is seriously ill in a Saudi hospital, according to reports.
At least five people died on Wednesday when a boat carrying migrants from Tunisia to Italy capsized in the Mediterranean sea, authorities say. Some 99 other people were rescued by the coast guard. It comes after around 6,000 people arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa following Tunisia's revolution. People unable to find employment in their country took advantage of a lapse in security around their country's borders and shoreline. The European Border agency Frontex has said it will send officers to prevent the arrival of more migrants, but Italian authorities have accused Tunisia of not doing enough. Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri has taken a ride with the Tunisian Coast Guard to find out what exactly is being done.
Within days of the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority announced plans for municipal, legislative, and presidential elections, as well as a cabinet reshuffle. Although these appear on the surface to be democratic measures in the new spirit of the times, they sidestep -- so far -- the serious challenges Palestinians face, including: the Fatah-Hamas split, the exclusion of refugees and exiles from Palestinian governance, and continued Israeli colonization and control over Palestinian land and lives.
Just as upon return from the state-sponsored trips to Auschwitz, Jewish students will come back from Hebron feeling more nationalist than ever before.
A deputy in the Palestinian Legislative Council has warned that the Israeli occupation authority is exploiting international preoccupation with other events in the Middle East to implement its plans for the Judaisation of Jerusalem and the imposition of more "facts on the ground" in the occupied city. Mustafa Barghouti said that Israel's announcement that its military colleges would be transferred from the Galilee district to occupied East Jerusalem "amounts to a declaration of war on the Palestinian people". Israel plans to locate the colleges on more than 32,000 sq metres of occupied land. Plans to build 120 settlement units in the north of the Holy City as well as nineteen synagogues in the settlement of Har Homa have also been announced.
A little wave came out of the Israeli agitprop machine yesterday: Howard Evans wrote a piece in the Daily Beast, soon amplified by one of the Washington Post’s resident Israelists, Jennifer Rubin. They attacked Human Rights Watch, the venerable organization once called Helsinki Watch, where it monitored Soviet bloc compliance with the Helsinki Accords.
'The Government are a friend to both Israelis and Palestinians,' UK foreign secretary William Hague, a dedicated Israel fan, told Parliament this week. "We are calling for both sides to show the visionary boldness to return to talks and make genuine compromises. Talks need to take place on the basis of clear parameters. In our view, the entire international community, including the United States, should now support 1967 borders as the basis for resumed negotiations..."
Massive public protests continue to sweep the Middle East and North Africa in countries including Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Iran—many being met with violent government crackdowns. We speak to Marwan Bishara, senior political analyst at Al Jazeera English and MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky. "Perhaps the Arab moment has come," Bishara says, "It is clear the genies are out of the bottle. I think change is coming to the Arab world."
To put it another way, pro-American dictatorships have more moral scruples. The comparison is akin to what happened in the 1980s when U.S. allies led by authoritarians fell peacefully in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan, even as Communist regimes proved tougher."
One of the big media memes of the toppling of Hosni Mubarak is what it means for Israel and US policy in the region (which for the last 20 years has largely been about Israel). Some see a huge change coming, with the idea being that the poor, vulnerable Jewish state will once again be at the mercy of bloodthirsty Arabs who, deprived of tough leadership, will revert to their irrational hatred of all things Semitic.
Now that the Egyptian people have finally wrestled their freedom from the hands of a very stubborn regime, accolades to the revolution are pouring in from all directions. Even those who initially sided with Hosni Mubarak's regime, or favored a neutral position, have now changed their tune.
The Arab world’s presidents for life and absolute monarchs are quaking in the aftermath of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Arab politics had been stuck in a vast logjam for the past thirty years, from which its crowds are now attempting to blast it loose. The protesters put their fingers on the phenomenon of the vampire state and concluded that before anything important could change, they had to put a stake through its heart.
So the New York Times today had this: "Few Americans have heard of Mr. Sharp. But for decades, his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notablya 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world, including in Burma, Bosnia, Estonia and Zimbabwe, and now Tunisia and Egypt." This is so untrue. No evidence to that whatsoever. What an overstatement. The case is simple: protesters in the Middle East have resorted to non-violence due to practicality. Violent protests in the Middle East have failed: the state uses overwhelming force and the US/EU always support Israeli and Arab regime repression against civilians. Arabs realized that--unlike other people in the world--the world does not let them engage in any kind of armed struggle or violent protests. So much massive violence have been imposed on the populations and that have undermined the utility of smaller-scale violence by protesters. Also, even assassinations--which were kind of popular in earlier more innocent times--are now impossible: even MPs in Lebanon move in convoys of armored cars. It took such a large operation and 1000 tons of TNT to assassinate Rafiq Hariri. All this, have moved populations to resort to non-violence and also they know that this won't allow the regimes to raise a hue and cry over terrorist plots by Al-Qa`idah. How many times do I have to say this: Arab youth don't know who Gene Sharp is.
2011 has not gotten off to a good start for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tunisia may be on the Arab world’s periphery, but Egypt has been at the Middle East’s center of gravity for decades. It is clear that Saudi leaders were deeply disturbed by what they interpret as the Obama Administration’s abandonment of Hosni Mubarak, a long-time U.S. ally. And now, the Arab “wave” is breaking much closer to home.
Young people of Nablus closely follow unrest across region as city celebrates removal of notorious checkpoint. I went to Nablus in the West Bank this week to try to find out whether young people there were in revolutionary mood similar to their counterparts across the Middle East.
Our generation has finally rediscovered the lost revolutionary heritage of our forefathers – we must keep the dream alive
At 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, as thousands of people gathered to protest against their ruler at a busy intersection in Manama, the capital of the small island nation of Bahrain, you could just about hear over the general hubbub the anthem of the young people who have shaken regimes from North Africa to the Arabian Gulf. It wasn't a verse from the Koran. It wasn't a traditional tune from the region. It was rap. A reedy female voice shouted out, several times, the first line of "Rais Lebled," a song written by the Tunisian rapper known as El General. "Mr. President, your people are dying," the woman sang. Then others joined in. "Mr. President, your people are dying/ People are eating rubbish/ Look at what is happening/ Miseries everywhere, Mr. President/ I talk with no fear/ Although I know I will get only trouble/ I see injustice everywhere."
After last Saturday's protest, the desire for reform and freedom is stirring in Algeria – despite the shadow of past civil war
Iranian parliamentarians presented an ugly scene on Tuesday with raucous chants calling for the executions of two opposition leaders – and the U.S. news media was quick to denounce the Iranian government – but there is a complex history that Americans aren’t getting.
How could we refer to the recent upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt or, for that matter, the 2009 post elections demonstrations in Tehran, as "pro-democracy" movements when we cannot even define what this deceptively alluringly sound-bite really means? What do we or the news media and our official Administration pronouncements refer to when labeling the demonstrations in Tahrir Square as "pro democracy"?
In the speech, Nasrallah talked about issuing orders to commanders on the ground to take over the Galilee "if war was imposed on us." It becomes something else in the New York Times. Oh, it seems that the Zionist enemy was scared from that threat: New TV just reported that Israel installed new wires along the borders with Lebanon. Yes, that would protect the Zionist entity from collapse.
"With 480 characters I undid a long career defending the weak and victims of injustice. There is no excuse for what I wrote. At the time, I did not know that the attack against Lara Logan was so severe, or included apparent sexual violence. Even so, any violence against anyone is wrong. I've apologized, lost my job, and humiliated myself and my family. But I, at least, don't want to go down looking like a sexist pig. I am not. I am a staunch supporter of women's rights, gay rights and the rights of the weak anywhere in the world. This is not the first time my words have landed me in trouble. I have been challenged many times on my support of resistance movements and my support of engaging with America's enemies, and I have never and will never apologize for those stances. I continue to apologize for this comment because it in no way reflects the way I feel about women or violence. Sexual assault is never funny, and it is a terrible crime. I have apologized to Ms. Logan and her family, and to victims of sexual violenceeverywhere."
One day after his Twitter remarks about journalist Lara Logan's sexual attack in Cairo blew up the blogosphere and sabotaged his career, journalist Nir Rosen is speaking out in a more measured fashion. In an interview with NYU Local, Rosen expressed regret for his tweets, which said that Logan "had to outdo [journalist] Anderson [Cooper]," who was attacked in Cairo a few weeks ago, and does not deserve sympathy for her war-mongering past. (See photos of all the tweets here.) Rosen later resigned from his post as a fellow at NYU's Center on Law and Security.
Youtube, Facebook and Twitter have become the new weapons of mass mobilisation. Are social networks triggering social revolution? And where will the next domino fall?
Jihad Al-Khazin is a typical story: a Lebanese-Palestinian journalist who is willing to prostrate himself before the House of Saud no matter what. Nothing comes between him and the House of Saud, and their allies. The enemies of House of Saud are his enemies, and their friends are his, politically speaking. Al-Khazin, however, unlike those Lebanese who work for House of Saud, is talented: he is a good writer and a good conversationalist. He first got the attention of King Fahd when he was assigned to give a press summary to King Fahd when he would spend a vacation in Europe (I am talking about months-long vacations here). He would sprinkle his press briefing with anecdotes, gossip, and references to Arabic poetry. King Fahd liked him and his fortune rose with the House of Saud. He worked first for Prince Salman and his sons, before switching to the service of Prince Khalid bin Sultan. I am told that in Al-Hayat's offices in London, all reporters and writers there aspire to be like Khazin: the story is told how Khalid bin Sultan came one day and bought him a house in a fancy neighborhood in London (knighsbridge?). This is my introduction to the lousy piece of sycophancy that he wrote for the King of Jordan and his wife. He said: "King `Abdullah II and his Queen Rania represent the Age of Enlightenment." Yes, when the King was pushing tribal values and reactionary religion on people of Jordan for much of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and beyond to oppose the secular and progressive opposition of Jordan, he was representing the enlightenment, unless Al-Khazin means that peace with Israel means "enlightenment" but I know he can't mean that because he often poses as enemy of piece with Israel.
This article by Laurie made me think about the matter. I think that American public sexism against First Ladies is the most extreme: the US male population (and even female) can't handle any first lady who does not suppress her intelligence. Americans can only handle a First Lady who only talk about combating obesity and running noses among children. So to the Middle East: I would not say that I have discerned any disproportionate or sexist hostility to First Ladies there--and I am sensitive to the matter. To be sure, criticisms have been made about some First Ladies and some have been ridiculed but not less than their husbands. The antics of Queen Rania can only invite ridicule, as do the antics of her buffoon husband. For example, you never hear criticisms of Algerian First Lady, or the First Lady of Libya (as much as Qadhdhafi is hated), or Sudan or Syria, for example. Rafiq Hariri was hated by many in Lebanon but his widow was not attacked, no the wife of Sa`d Hariri. So it is not indiscriminate across the board. I also don't think that all motives of attacks on Queen Rania are from racist, anti-Palestinian sources, although some suffer from regime-inspired racist anti-Palestinian attitudes. Susan Mubarak was not a target of attacks at all: but her sons were. So it is certainly not across the board sexism. The families of Tunisian and Jordanian First Ladies did enrich themselves. It is a fact. And in Syria people focus on the corruption of the cousins of Bashshar (the Makhluf who are notoriously corrupt) but not on the family of Asma' Al-Asad, whose family did not engage in corruption at all.